OSA's Digital Library

Journal of the Optical Society of America

Journal of the Optical Society of America

  • Vol. 66, Iss. 11 — Nov. 1, 1976
  • pp: 1145–1150

Some fundamental properties of speckle

J. W. Goodman  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA, Vol. 66, Issue 11, pp. 1145-1150 (1976)

View Full Text Article

Acrobat PDF (848 KB)

Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Browse by Journal and Year


Lookup Conference Papers

Close Browse Journals / Lookup Meetings

Article Tools



A speckle pattern formed in polarized monochromatic light may be regarded as resulting from a classical random walk in the complex plane. The resulting irradiance fluctuations obey negative exponential statistics, with ratio of standard deviation to mean (i.e., contrast) of unity. Reduction of this contrast, or smoothing of the speckle, requires diversity in polarization, space, frequency, or time. Addition of M uncorrelated speckle patterns on an intensity basis can reduce the contrast by 1/√ M. However, addition of speckle patterns on a complex amplitude basis provides no reduction of contrast. The distribution of scale sizes in a speckle pattern (i.e., the Wiener spectrum) is investigated from a physical point of view.

© 1976 Optical Society of America

J. W. Goodman, "Some fundamental properties of speckle," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 66, 1145-1150 (1976)

Sort:  Author  |  Year  |  Journal  |  Reset


  1. J. D. Rigden and E. I. Gordon, "The granularity of scattered optical maser light," Proc. IRE 50, 2367–2368 (1962).
  2. B. M. Oliver, "Sparkling spots and random diffraction," Proc. IEEE 51, 220–221 (1963).
  3. E. Verdet, Ann. Scientif. l'Ecole Normal Superieure 2, 291 (1865).
  4. J. W. Strutt (Lord Rayleigh), "On the resultant of a large number of vibrations of the same pitch and of arbitrary phase," Philos. Mag. 10, 73–78 (1880).
  5. M. von Laue, Sitzungsber. Akad. Wiss. (Berlin) 44, 1144 (1914); Mitt. Physik Ges. (Zurich) 18, 90 (1916); Verhandl. Deut. Phys. Ges. 19, 19 (1917).
  6. P. E. Green, Jr., "Radar measurements of target scattering properties," in Radar Astronomy, edited by J. V. Evans and T. Hagfors (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1968), pp. 1–77.
  7. E. N. Leith, "Quasi-holographic techniques in the microwave region, "I Proc. IEEE 59, 1305–1318 (1971).
  8. Acoustical Holography, edited by P. S. Green (Plenum, New York, 1974), Vol. 5.
  9. J. A. Ratcliffe, "Some aspects of diffraction theory and their application to the ionosphere," in Reports on Progress in Physics, edited by A. C. Strickland (The Physical Society, London, 1956), Vol. 19, pp. 188–267.
  10. L. Mandel, "Fluctuations of photon beams: the distribution of photoelectrons," Proc. Phys. Soc. Lond. 74, 233–243 (1959).
  11. D. Middleton, Introduction to Statistical Communication Theory (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1960).
  12. W. B. Davenport and W. L. Root, Random Signals and Noise (McGraw-Hill, New York, 1958).
  13. J. W. Goodman, "Statistical properties of laser speckle patterns," in Laser speckle and related phenomena, edited by J. C. Dainty (Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, 1975), Vol. 9 (Topics in Applied Physics), pp. 9–75.
  14. P. Beckmann and A. Spizzichino, The Scattering of Electromagnetic Waves from Rough Sufaces (Pergamon/Macmillan, London, New York, 1963).
  15. K. Pearson, A Mathematical Theory of Random Migration (Draper's Company Research Memoirs, London, 1906), Biometric Ser. III.
  16. J. W. Strutt (Lord Rayleigh), "On the problem of random vibrations, and of random flights in one, two, or three dimensions," Philos. Mag. 37, 321–347 (1919).
  17. M. A. Condie, "An Experimental Investigation of the Statistics of Diffusely Reflected Coherent Light," thesis (Dept. of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., 1966) (unpublished).
  18. J. C. Dainty, "Some statistical properties of random speckle patterns in coherent and partially coherent illumination," Opt. Acta 17, 761–772 (1970).
  19. T. S. McKechnie, "Measurement of some second order statistical properties of speckle," Optik 39, 258–267 (1974); "Statistics of coherent light speckle produced by stationary and moving apertures," Ph. D. thesis (Dept. of Physics, Imperial College, London 1974) (unpublished).
  20. D. Leger, E. Mathieu, and J. C. Perin, "Optical surface roughness determination using speckle correlation techniques," Appl. Opt. 14, 872–877 (1975).
  21. N. George and A. Jain, "Space and wavelength dependence of speckle intensity," Appl. Phys. 4, 201–212 (1974).
  22. G. Parry, "Some effects of surface roughness on the appearance of speckle in polychromatic light," Opt. Commun. 12, 75–78 (1974).
  23. L. I. Goldfischer, "Autocorrelation function and power spectral density of laser-produced speckle patterns," J. Opt. Soc. Am. 55, 247–253 (1965).

Cited By

Alert me when this paper is cited

OSA is able to provide readers links to articles that cite this paper by participating in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. CrossRef includes content from more than 3000 publishers and societies. In addition to listing OSA journal articles that cite this paper, citing articles from other participating publishers will also be listed.

Next Article »

OSA is a member of CrossRef.

CrossCheck Deposited